Leaving Hanksville

November 19, 2018

Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM, Department of Interior) great photographer Bob Wick captures a photo that separates the redrock lovers from everybody else.

The road seems to dead end in the mountains ahead. Nobody visible in the land for miles around. It’s either incredibly desolate and lonely, or among the most beautiful, everyday views among rocks of incredible beauty you’ll ever see and remember forever.

Caption from America's Great Outdoors, Tumblr blog of the U.S. Department of Interior: Heading south from Hanksville, Utah, towards Lake Powell, highway travelers bisect the remote Henry Mountains – the last area mapped in the lower 48. The 11,000-foot forested peaks of the main mountain range rise to the west, while two distinctive summits, Mount’s Ellsworth and Holmes, jut skyward from the rolling red sandstone mesas to the east. Known as the “Little Rockies,” these peaks are studied by geologists around the world as a classic example of igneous rocks, formed deep within the earth’s mantle, thrusting through the overlying sandstone layers. The Little Rockies have been designated as a National Natural Landmark for their geological significance. The peaks also provide habitat for desert bighorn sheep and numerous birds of prey. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands

Caption from America’s Great Outdoors, Tumblr blog of the U.S. Department of Interior: Heading south from Hanksville, Utah, towards Lake Powell, highway travelers bisect the remote Henry Mountains – the last area mapped in the lower 48. The 11,000-foot forested peaks of the main mountain range rise to the west, while two distinctive summits, Mount’s Ellsworth and Holmes, jut skyward from the rolling red sandstone mesas to the east. Known as the “Little Rockies,” these peaks are studied by geologists around the world as a classic example of igneous rocks, formed deep within the earth’s mantle, thrusting through the overlying sandstone layers. The Little Rockies have been designated as a National Natural Landmark for their geological significance. The peaks also provide habitat for desert bighorn sheep and numerous birds of prey. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands

Outdoors people in Utah usually know the Henry Mountains. There’s a buffalo herd there, open to hunting. It’s an amazing rock formation in the middle of other amazing rocks, a towering landmark for miles.

Hanksville would have to be invented by a good fiction writer if it didn’t exist, a desert town where everybody stops who passes by, with nothing really to commend it but the fact that it’s there, and populated by people of great character. Who names a town “Hanksville?”

Who wouldn’t like to be on that road?

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September 26, 1850: Millard Fillmore nominated Brigham Young as governor of the Utah Territory

September 26, 2018

Interesting exercise, probably for an undergraduate college history student:  What became of these men during their service in the Utah Territory, and afterward?  What effect did they have on Utah’s history, and Utah on them?

On September 26, 1850, Millard Fillmore sent the Senate, for confirmation, his nominations of officers to run the Utah Territory, three years after Brigham Young had led the first band of Latter-day Saints into the Salt Lake Valley to settle; Fillmore nominated Brigham Young as Governor of the Territory:

Letter from President Millard Fillmore to the U.S. Senate, nominating people (all men) to govern the Utah Territory, September 26, 1850 - U.S. National Archives image

Letter from President Millard Fillmore to the U.S. Senate, nominating people (all men) to govern the Utah Territory, September 26, 1850 – U.S. National Archives image

Page 2:

Page 2 of President Fillmore's letter to the U.S. Senate, nominating officers to govern the Utah Territory , in 1850. National Archives image

Page 2 of President Fillmore’s letter to the U.S. Senate, nominating officers to govern the Utah Territory , in 1850. National Archives image

National Archives notes:  Executive Nominations for the First Session of the 31st Congress, 12/03/1849 – 09/30/1850

Production Dates: 09/26/1850

Notes in red ink indicate that confirmation dates for each of these nominees — all but one done two days later.  Fillmore’s nominee to be U.S. marshall in the territory wasn’t confirmed until the following February.

Amazing to think of the speed with which these confirmations occurred, compared to today’s U.S. Senate — and remembering that Congress was not particularly friendly to Fillmore.

An animated GIF of the as it evolved from 1850...

An animated GIF of the Utah Territory as it evolved from 1850 to 1896, when statehood was granted. (Territory boundaries not exact, especially in the west, where early proposals took in parts of California) Wikipedia image

Nominations were:

  • Brigham Young, of Utah, to be governor of the Utah territory
  • Broughton Davis Harris, of Vermont, to be Secretary of the territory
  • Joseph Buffington, of Pennsylvania, to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Utah Territory
  • Perry E. Brocchus, of Alabama, to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Utah Territory
  • Zerubabbel Snow, of Ohio, to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Utah Territory
  • Seth Blain, of Utah, to be U.S. Attorney
  • Joseph L. Haywood, of Utah, to be U.S. Marshall.

What other odd little delights are hidden away in the on-line holdings of the National Archives?  What sort of DBQ exercise can history teachers make out of this stuff?

More:

Brigham Young in 1851; photo from LDS archives

Brigham Young in 1851; photo from LDS archives

This is an encore post.

Yes, this is an encore post. Defeating ignorance takes patience and perseverance.


July 2018: When do we fly the flag?

July 19, 2018

Caption from NASA: The American flag heralded the launch of Apollo 11, the first Lunar landing mission, on July 16, 1969. The massive Saturn V rocket lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin

Caption from NASA: The American flag heralded the launch of Apollo 11, the first Lunar landing mission, on July 16, 1969. The massive Saturn V rocket lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin at 9:32 a.m. EDT. Four days later, on July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the Moon’s surface while Collins orbited overhead in the Command Module. Armstrong and Aldrin gathered samples of lunar material and deployed scientific experiments that transmitted data about the lunar environment. Image Credit: NASA

[Yes, we’re running late with this post for July. Apologies. You can always check the list of all dates, or last year’s post.]

July 4. Surely everyone knows to fly the flag on Independence Day, the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.*

In the month of the grand patriotic celebration, what other dates do we fly the U.S. flag? July 4 is the only date designated in the Flag Code for all Americans to fly the flag.  Three states joined the union in July, days on which citizens of those states should show the colors, New York, Idaho and Wyoming.

Plus, there is one date many veterans think we should still fly the flag, Korean War Veterans Armistice Day on July 27.  Oddly, the law designating that date urges flying the flag only until 2003, the 50th anniversary of the still-standing truce in that war.  But the law still exists.  What’s a patriot to do?

Patriots may watch to see whether the president issues a proclamation for the date.

From Pinterest:

From Pinterest: “Riders in the patriotic horse group Americanas from Rexburg, Idaho, participate in the 163rd annual Days of ‘47 KSL 5 Parade Tuesday July 24, 2012 [in Salt Lake City, Utah]. (Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune)”

Generally we don’t note state holidays or state-designated flag-flying events, such as Utah’s Pioneer Day, July 24, which marks the day in 1847 that the Mormon pioneers in the party of Brigham Young exited what is now Emigration Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley. But it’s a big day in Utah, where I spent a number of years and still have family. And I still have memories, not all pleasant, of that five-mile march for the Days of ’47 Parade, in that wool, long-sleeved uniform and hat, carrying the Sousaphone. Pardon my partisan exception. Utahns will fly their flags on July 24.

  • Idaho statehood, July 3 (1890, 43rd state)
  • Independence Day, July 4
  • Wyoming statehood, July 10 (1890, 44th state)
  • New York statehood, July 26 (1788, 11th state)
  • National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, July 27 (flags fly at half-staff, if you are continuing the commemoration which was designated in law only until 2003)

More:

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* July 4? But didn’t John Adams say it should be July 2?  And, yes, the staff at Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub sadly noted that, at most July 4 parades, it appears no one salutes the U.S. flag as it passes, as the Flag Code recommends. MFB’s been fighting flag etiquette ignorance since 2006. It’s taking much, much longer than we wished.

The U.S. flag on Mars - No manned missions to Mars occurred, yet, so there is no flag planted on Mars. But the Mars Rover, Curiosity, has a U.S. flag medallion affixed to a rocker arm.  From NASA: This view of the American flag medallion on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity was taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 44th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Sept. 19, 2012). The flag is one of four

The U.S. flag on Mars – No manned missions to Mars occurred, yet, so there is no flag planted on Mars. But the Mars Rover, Curiosity, has a U.S. flag medallion affixed to a rocker arm. From NASA: This view of the American flag medallion on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity was taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 44th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (Sept. 19, 2012). The flag is one of four “mobility logos” placed on the rover’s mobility rocker arms.

This is an encore post.

Yes, this is an encore post. Defeating ignorance takes patience and perseverance.

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Something in the way ice moves on Utah Lake

April 25, 2018

Ice on Utah Lake, from a drone movie by Bill Church, screen capture.

Moving ice on Utah Lake, from a drone movie by Bill Church, screen capture.

Where does the great @BillChurchPhoto post his photos? (Update: On Instagram, and sales at BillChurchPhoto.com.) His work around Utah Lake, and Utah, is spectacular (and I hope people buy his images so he’s making money off of the great art he’s captured).

Here is a photo of plain old Utah Lake, in February. Church makes it look beautiful and exciting, instead of just cold and muddy.

Not sure I can embed this movie any other way:

More:

Tip of the old scrub brush to Utah State Parks on Twitter.


Utah Lake in the cold

April 6, 2018

Jeff McGrath (@youtah) on Twitter: Utah Lake is just stunning right now. This was taken at the Northern End with my drone while flying for recreational fun. #utwx #dronephotography #recreationaldrone

Jeff McGrath (@youtah) on Twitter: Utah Lake is just stunning right now. This was taken at the Northern End with my drone while flying for recreational fun. #utwx #dronephotography #recreationaldrone

Northern end of Utah Lake, near Lehi, probably near the old boat launch and harbor near where the old amusement park Saratoga was (now a town loaded with housing tracts).

My grandfather, Leo Stewart, Sr., came into the world 30 or so miles south, in Benjamin, Utah, named after a family patriarch of sorts, Benjamin Franklin Stewart. When he was very young, my grandfather said, they’d boat out a half-mile or so into the lake and look down into 20 feet of water, and pick the giant trout they’d want to hook. That was in the late 19th century, of course.

In that sorry time 30 years later, some fool introduced European carp into the area, for more game fish. Carp dig up the shallow bottom and muddy the water. In my youth along the lake you could never see more than six inches into the lake. Because it was so far from everything else important, a steel plant was built at Geneva, about midway between north and south ends of the lake, during World War II — in case the mills in California were bombed. U.S. Steel eventually ended up with the plant.

From our home on the Lake Bonneville bench, 800 feet or so above the lake, we could watch the steel mill’s pouring of slag at night, a little flow of artificial magma to light the sky and look cool. The mill also dumped chemicals into the water which further clouded the view.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Utah State Parks.


Best show on God’s Earth, free!

January 13, 2018

Tourists in Arches National Park, in Utah. Arches is one of five National Parks in Utah.

Tourists in Arches National Park. Arches is one of five National Parks in Utah.

Utah.com lists the days in the coming year when entry to National Parks is free. Utah.com is a promotional site for Utah, where several National Parks are big tourist draws — so they have a bias.

It’s a good bias!

Alas, only four days so far:

FREE National Park Entrance Days 2018

January 15: Martin Luther King Jr. Day

April 1: First day of National Parks Week

September 22: National Public Lands Day

November 11: Veterans Day weekend

Four free days to  split among five National Parks in Utah: Arches, Canyonlands, Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef. National Monuments are probably included in the free admission days, so you can add Timpanogos Cave, Rainbow Bridge, Dinosaur, Promontory Point and others.

There’s a lot to see in Utah’s mountains and redrock country — and that doesn’t include the Great Salt Lake and the Salt Flats.


How did we celebrate Utah statehood?

January 4, 2018

Followers of this blog may note that, with 50 states having statehood days, only a handful actually celebrate with anything like the ceremonies Congress probably intended when they wrote the U.S. Flag Code, which calls for citizens to fly the U.S. flag on their statehood day.

It’s a bit of a disappointment.

Utah doesn’t make it a holiday, but Utahns note the day and the history, as we find on Twitter today.

Good for Utah.

AlRounds.com, a painting and image sale site, have this painting for sale; it shows the Latter-day Saints' Temple in Salt Lake City, festooned as it was through 1896 with a giant U.S. flag -- hung backwards by today's standards. Painting probably by Al Rounds.

AlRounds.com, a painting and image sale site, have this painting for sale; it shows the Latter-day Saints’ Temple in Salt Lake City, festooned as it was through 1896 with a giant U.S. flag — hung backwards by today’s standards. Painting probably by Al Rounds.

In the past five years, the image above has become a popular one, based on a photo by pioneering Utah journalist George Reed, from 1896.

Twitter shows much, much more, starting with that photo (did the Republicans link to Al Rounds’s site?). It’s not all love and peace pipes, either — who knew Utah statehood could be controversial 122 years later?

I think the state tree of Utah was changed in a recent session of the legislature. Utah’s state bird is the California gull, and there is history behind that (if questionable history); but Utah garden clubs lobbied for the Colorado Blue Spruce as state tree, in the 20th century. Lovely tree, but not native to Utah at all, it turns out. We used to joke Utah’s state bird is the California Gull, the state tree the Colorado Spruce, and the state song, “On Wisconsin.” State song is actually, “Utah, We Love Thee.” I’ll have to look up the state tree issue. Prof. Irving McNulty, from whom I took botany at the University of Utah, said he thought the state tree should be the Utah juniper (then Juniperus utahensis, but probably differently named now), because it was a squat, rather ugly tree that has legendary pollen and seed production. It’s considered a junk tree in most places, because it ruins grazing lands.

Do you wear your bib and tucker for formal occasions?

Does your state celebrate with a state dance in an isolated, former capital?

Why do I mention that? Nothing at all to do with the former capital’s being Fillmore, in Millard County, I promise.

Is Delicate Arch in Arches National Park just one of the best symbols of any state, anywhere?

Here’s one of the photos that prompted the painting at the top of this post.

More to come, perhaps, as the day goes on.

 


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